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Midshipmen Selected as Presidential Fellows for D.C. Think Tank

Posted on: November 16, 2012 08:00 EST by Jessica Clark

From the International Programs Office

Two Naval Academy midshipmen attended the Presidential Fellows Leadership Conference hosted by the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress Nov. 1-3 in Arlington, Va.

Midshipmen 2nd Class Anthony Cardon and Justin Chock were two of 75 Fellows representing 68 colleges and universities from across the nation.

The fellowship gathers together aspiring undergraduate leaders from across the country for three days of presentations by a wide range of speakers.

“The conference was an incredible experience, and we are highly honored to represent the academy at this event,” said Chock.

Speakers included Dan Runde, director of the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Jon Clifton, deputy director of the Gallup Poll, who spoke about how measures of prosperity are shifting and what the Gallup world poll does differently to quantify well-being in a country.

A panel on civic engagement brought together relatively young yet influential members of the D.C. community to provide their outlook on the future and lessons from their start on Capitol Hill. Former Army officer and Middle East scholar Andrew Exum explained the new role of digital media in the 21st century through focusing on the Arab Spring while former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman provided input on the American political system and the key issues that America must address in the coming years.

“I thought it was inspiring to be around people who were so passionate and willing to be involved in governmental affairs that they took an active role in making it better,” said Cardon.

The highlight of the conference was an opportunity to speak with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor while touring the Supreme Court. During this discussion, O’Connor spoke about the role of the judicial branch in American politics and explained her path through life.

“Justice O’Connor has an incredibly resilient character that we all admired,” said Chock. “The wealth of knowledge that she holds is immense and being able to learn from her experience was very insightful.”

As Presidential Fellows through this program, the midshipmen will also attend a conference in the spring and submit a research paper related to the legislative or executive branches of government.

Chock elected to research foreign policy with a focus on the Japan-America partnership. This topic is especially relevant to him since he is currently studying abroad in Japan with Keio University and is able to see the dynamics of the relationship first-hand.

“Our partnership with the Japanese government is strong and there are a lot of ways that each nation can benefit from the other,” said Chock. “This relationship will prove especially vital to America’s successful execution of the recent shift of focus towards the Pacific and I hope to examine the ways that the American government can strengthen its ties with the nation as well as the issues within the Asia-Pacific region that might affect this partnership.”

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